Q&A: Should I Have Anal Sex Without A Condom?

QUESTION: How unsafe is anal sex without a condom? Are there any ways to do this without a condom to make it safe? Does doing it once or twice put you in serious danger?

It’s not that anal sex per se is a dangerous activity.

Reducing STI Risk

Rather, it’s that unprotected anal sex—meaning anal sex without a condom—and with a partner who has an infection is what makes anal sex risky.

Because the anus doesn’t lubricate on its own, and because the anus is more prone to tearing than the vagina, anal sex carries greater risk for passing sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, such as Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV.

If you want to have anal sex without a condom, the most important thing is for you and your partner to get tested for STIs.

You might want to go together to get tested and also go together when you have your results read. Then you will have more information with which to make your choices.

Keep in mind, though, that your STI tests are only true as of the day you have the tests done.

If one or both of you goes out and has sex with other people, thereby putting oneself at risk of STIs again, then you may want to continue using condoms until you know that you two are being sexually exclusive.

Venturing into Anal Play

Other Options

Some people choose not to ejaculate in the anus or rectum as a means of reducing the risk of STI transmission.

Pulling the penis out of the anus and then ejaculating elsewhere—such as in one’s own hand or in a towel or on a partner’s back—does not remove the risk of STI transmission, but it is one strategy that some people use to minimize risk of exposure to sexual fluids.

You might also consider ways to use a condom that are more pleasurable.

Adding lubricant to the outside of the condom, and sometimes a small bit of lubricant in the inside tip of the condom, can increase pleasure.

You might also look for a looser fitting condom, such as the Trojan Ecstasy line of condoms, that some men in independent testing have found to help sex feel more natural and pleasurable, and less constricting.

Anal Stimulation Demystified